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PHOTO BY: RICHARD MACKSON, USA TODAY SPORTS “If you are asking if there’s some big desire to reach even further,” Em-

mons adds. “Then no, that deep, missing feeling defi nitely isn’t there any- more. If I had to stop tomorrow, would I feel like I missed out on something? No, not at all. But at the same time, there are some areas of the game I’ve not perfected that still interest me. I know there’s another level I still haven’t seen that I’d like to see. The process of attempting to master it and under- stand it is fun and exciting for me. Planning and preparing to go to certain competitions and have a magical performance keeps fueling my fi re. I don’t ‘need’ to win the medals, but experiencing and enjoying a magical perfor- mance when it matters is something you can never get enough of. That keeps me going.” As for Rio, there is no medal-specifi c goal — not yet, anyhow. There’s still

too much distance between then and now. “To walk into the Olympics and say I want to win gold, well, that’s every- one’s goal,” said Emmons. “Yeah, it’s a nice goal to have, but I don’t think it’s the right one. Over the next 18 months, I really want to continue to fi ne- tune my game so that when I walk into Rio, I feel extremely prepared. It doesn’t mean that there’s not three or four people more prepared than I am, but I want to walk in there feeling that I’m ready to be the best that I can be and make someone beat me.” Beyond Rio? Well, that depends on how this next Olympic run goes and also on a set of variables he can control and those he cannot. He’s eyeing the potential after 2016 where he gives up Three-Position altogether and just focuses on Prone, where’s had the most career success anyhow. “I’m confi dent I could still be one of the best in the world in 3x40 after

Rio, but the reality is that it just takes so much time to do that,” Emmons claims. “It’s a full-time job and there are a lot of other opportunities that I want to start exploring in the future that I otherwise wouldn’t have time for. 18 months is a long time where variables can change, so I’ll think more about that decision after the next Olympics.” Matt Emmons, the greatest shooter of our time, has embraced sour ad-

versity, no doubt. His defi ance to not let it consume him nor let it unseat a champion’s will might be his greatest triumph. As he gets set to write the next great chapter in a story tale career, the great part is knowing that he is now the master of his own destiny.

Admiration of a Competitor:

Nicco Campriani, 2012 Olympic double medalist

In sport, we often measure the great- ness of a champion by counting the med- als won. Sometimes even the medals that he lost. When we talk about Matt, we just can’t do that. If we would do so, we would miss the best part of the story. Take for example, the Beijing Olympic Games. If you look at the rankings, you would fi nd Matt with a silver medal in Prone and with a fourth place in Three- Position. Not bad at all. But if you were there in Beijing, you would have seen him shooting Prone in the trickiest part of the range, reading wind fl ags with lucidity and experience. It was simply one of the best prone performances in Olympic history. Or, if you were there for the 3P Final,

you would have seen a true champion dealing with the toughest moment of his career with composure, dignity and a sin- cere smile on his face. To witness such an act of moral strength was a real inspira- tion for me and I did not need any rank- ings to understand that he was a winner. And that’s Matt. He is the embodiment

of the concept that who you are will defi ne what you do, and not the opposite. That was his secret in order to remain humble after his greatest successes and to not despair after his clamorous mistakes. This is the meaningful message that his story leaves to our international shooting community and to the sport world in gen- eral.

20 USA Shooting News | March 2015

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